15 Nutritious Blue Zone Recipes For Every Meal Of The Day
It's not only about how long but how well the world's Blue Zone centenarians live. Beyond opting for daily lifestyle practices that promote well-being—staying active, implementing stress-reducing techniques, maintaining a strong sense of purpose, family, and community—food is at the heart of any recipe for longevity.
In Blue Zones founder and longevity expert Dan Buettner's words, "If you want to live to a healthy 100, eat like healthy people who've lived to 100." From focusing on whole, plant-based foods to showing gratitude before a meal, the world's longest-lived people can teach us a thing or two about bringing more Blue to our everyday lives—and plates.
A quick refresher: What is the Blue Zone Diet?
People in the Blue Zones—dubbed by Buettner as areas around the globe where people live the longest and healthiest—live well because "their surroundings nudge them into the right behaviors," writes Buettner in The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100.
For most of their lives, Blue Zone inhabitants have chosen foods that promote a healthier lifestyle. "Ninety to 100% of their diets consist of whole, plant-based fare. They eat this way because fruits, vegetables, tubers, nuts, beans, and whole grains are affordable and accessible," says Buettner. "Their kitchens are set up. so it's easy to make these foods; they spend time with people who eat the same way, and they possess time-honored recipes to make healthy food taste good."
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Although each region features unique cultural practices, the author and his team distilled a few shared characteristics that reveal how these people eat for longevity, such as regularly consuming beans, snacking on nuts, drinking primarily water, reducing dairy, and cutting down on sugar, to name a few.
The secret of a strong longevity protocol is vividly simple and straightforward. "Because the Blue Zones diet approach is meant to promote longevity, make sure that the foods you're eating are ones you enjoy (and will want to enjoy still when you're 100 years old!) as opposed to making yourself choke down things you think you 'should' be eating," says Jess Cording M.S., R.D., CDN, registered dietitian, mbg Collective member, and mindbodygreen Functional Nutrition Program instructor. "Also, if the Blue Zone diet looks very different from your current eating pattern but you want to explore it, start with small changes that feel doable, or incorporate a few Blue Zone recipes at first."
Whether you're looking to power your path to 100 or optimize your diet through pure, accessible ingredients—these tasty Blue Zone recipes might be the culinary inspiration you've been looking for to eat like a healthy centenarian.
1. Buckwheat Breakfast Bowl
Fiber-rich foods are crucial in a Blue Zone diet. Emphasizing whole grains is one way these centenarians eat their way to optimal digestive health alongside nuts, greens, and beans. The citrusy kick in this warming buckwheat bowl recipe will ensure that you kick off your day on a healthy, balanced note.
2. Mediterranean-Inspired Vegan Green Shakshuka
Having a kitchen garden is a common, traditional thread in Blue Zone eating practices, so it's no wonder that spices and herbs make frequent appearances in recipes. This gorgeously green pot of herbal goodness features dill, parsley, and mint for a clean, refreshing nibble.
3. Thyme & Tomato Eggs
Eating eggs every week is a well-known habit among Blue Zone centenarians. However, they don't overdo them (no more than three per week), and their eggs come from chickens that roam freely, without hormones or antibiotics. This herby recipe is perfect to pair with a perfectly crisp slice of sourdough bread for a filling morning treat.
4. Shiitake Tofu Scramble With Chives
Lunch & Dinner
5. Super Spinach Pancakes
This breakfast-for-dinner recipe is packed with vibrant ingredients like avocado, spinach, and mixed-colored cherry tomatoes. Fill them with nutritious, Blue Zone-inspired ingredients (think sweet potato, fennel, white beans, corn, nuts, sweet plantains, or chickpeas) for a light yet satiating meal alternative.
6. Hearty Black Bean Soup
From black beans in Costa Rica to soybeans in Okinawa, beans are the essence of any longevity diet worldwide. This protein-rich, comforting recipe honors beans' immense nutritional benefits and versatility in one bowl of good-for-you goodness.
7. Butternut Squash Gnocchi
When sage, butternut squash, olive oil, and lemon come together, the result is a very succulent bite. This satisfying, go-to recipe makes for a healthy, soothing dish perfect for cooking and sharing with family, friends, and loved ones.
8. Tomato, Lentil & Eggplant Ragù
A nod to traditional Italian, meat-based ragù, this plant-based version features buttery-soft eggplant, red wine, and tomatoes—all of which make a regular appearance in Sardinian gastronomy. You can serve it on top of polenta or wilted greens tossed in a little extra olive oil.
Snacks & Beverages
9. Fermented Pepper Hummus
The beauty behind this colorful hummus lies not just in its simplicity but also in the gut-healthy addition of home-fermented peppers and garlic—for a tangy spin on the Mediterranean classic.
10. Sweet Macadamia Nut Cookies
11. Vegan Pesto
12. Raw Lemon Date Bites
With a kiss of coconut and lemon, these fiber-filled bites are a nut-free snack with just four wholesome, delicious ingredients.
13. Homemade Cold Brew Coffee
14. Spicy Mango Green Smoothie
Leafy greens are an all-star longevity ingredient that makes for a filling and nutritious addition to this tropical-inspired mango smoothie. You can toss in some arugula for a piquant punch, or tone it down with a milder green like turnip tops if you feel adventurous.
15. Good-For-You Guacamole
How can I learn more about the Blue Zone diet?
Whether you're looking to grow the quality and depth of your nutrition knowledge or expand your training on longevity, mindbodygreen's Functional Nutrition Program offers unparalleled food and nutrition education from 19 of the world's top doctors and experts, all within reach. Approaching health and well-being from a holistic lifestyle perspective has never been more relevant and necessary than right now. As a functional nutrition coach, you'll be equipped with the tools to deepen and enhance both your individual well-being and the collective well-being of others.
While there are a variety of factors to consider for longevity, food plays a pivotal role in leading a healthy lifestyle. Cooking in alignment with the Blue Zone diet isn't only about what to eat but how to eat—sharing food with loved ones, saying grace, and pausing to savor the joy of living is equally indispensable for a happier, longer life.